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Hello everyone, newbie from Indiana here


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Hello,

I did not notice an introduction thread for new members so please move this if it is bothersome. My name is Karl Myers. I am a 25 year-old father of two sons Atticus and Atlus. I live in Franklin, Indiana with my wife Marcia. I am in school for nursing and my wife is a registered nurse. I have always wanted to get into forging, I just never had the money to do a start up. I have bought a small forge. I am shopping for a suitable propane cylinder. I have been looking at 100# tanks. I had 4 tanks for forklifts but learned they are not suitable for my application and have gotten rid of them. When I go to the store I do not know what to ask for since the tanks do not specify if they are liquid propane or vapor propane. I'm new to propane as well(except grilling with 20# tanks). I am also having issues with locating a proper anvil. Most of the ones I've come across are cast iron and pretty small. I also have had no luck finding a segment of railroad track. I try to hit the antique and flea markets around here and brown county. If any locals have any suggestions on where I can track down some items that would be awesome. I also am not sure if welding gloves and aprons are appropriate safety gear. Do I need anything thicker? Thanks for any help guys.

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Hello and welcome to the greatest forum that exists!!

 

I use a 20# tank stolen from the BBQ for my forge, so it's really easy. And a welding apron and gloves are more than I have ever used! I use one glove for the tong holding hand and forgo one on the hammer hand beacuse it's unweildy and gets in the way plus makes you grip too hard causing things liek tendonitus. Safety glasses are a good thing to wear as well, and they are one thing I use regularily. I can't help you witht he anvil problem, but hit up your local scrap yards and find something to use as a post anvil. I have a #100 John Brooks, but I started with a piece of linkage from some implement until something larger came my way.

Edited by Timothy Artymko
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I use the 100# tanks you can buy at Home Depot, Tractor Supply, etc. Keeps me from filling up the BBQ sized ones quickly.

If you have a stump or a section of log, a stump anvil can be a good starter anvil.

http://www.oldworldanvils.com/anvils/stump.html

Oh yeah, get an adjustable regulator for that propane forge.

 

Welcome aboard!

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Welcome, I am also in Indiana. Gibson county, if you were closer I could hook you up with a rail you could use for an anvil. You could also check out http://www.indianablacksmithing.org/index.html . I believe they have some meeting that are close to you. Good luck in you forging.

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Thank you all for the replies. I have been a bit confused on the regulators. None of the ones I find at my local stores have a psi gauge. So how would I know what I'm set at? And the tank I'm looking at is a 100# tank at menards. They have a $15 rebate on it so it's cheaper thank any other place around me right now. I planned on getting the tinted safety goggles I saw in the welding section of rural King. I do appreciate the hospitality everyone. Does anyone recommend starting out with mild steel so I can work on using a hammer well? I also wanted to see what I am supposed to coat the insulation of my forge with. I have read about some type of refractory stuff that helps prevent fibers from the ceramic wool becoming airborn

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I would like to point out to you, as a newbie to the forum, that the site's search function is not that great. You should use a Google site search to find answers to questions you may have. This will be quite effective when searching for forge coatings (search for ITC 100, and you'll find others too) and the use of mild steel (go for it). There is also a bit on the regulators, but in short: Every propane tank will need a regulator. Some end use things have them built in (like torch heads), others not so much. You'll want to contact your local welding supply store to find one for use with propane that is variable can run at 20 psi or so. There isn't much need to run above that.

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Woooooo another Indiana newbie! (who of course lives halfway across the state) I'd recommend welding gloves;I mostly do stock removal right now, but being able to firmly hold something to straighten it during tempering is pretty useful. Also, good coverage during metal casting. As for the apron, depends how often sparks and such are flying at you, or if you are forge welding and sending slag everywhere.

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Karl, welcome. Wayne Coe is on this forum, he can supply you rigidizer for the ceramic blanket and reflective topcoating to enhance temperatures. I am about to place an order myself.

Gary LT

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Wayne Coe could also hook you up with the proper regulator with gauge and hose for your forge. The ones that you find at your hardware stores tend to be for BBQ grills and may not be adjustable. Other places to look would be High Temperature Tools and Refractory and Zoeller Forge.

 

As far as an anvil goes Old World Anvils is a good bet (Joshua gave you the link). Not only do they have a stump anvil they will cut their 4X4 stock that they cut them from to any length for a heavier post anvil. I got a block of H13 steel that weighs 87 lbs from a wholesaler in St. Louis that ran me $140 including shipping and it's a fantastic anvil. Granted it doesn't have a horn or a hardy tool hole but that can be worked around. Actually a traditional cutlers anvil is nothing more than a block of steel or a block of wrought iron faced with a steel plate.

 

Doug

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I appreciate the help guys. Looks like the welding shop is my friend when it comes to linking my tank to my forge and my protection. I'll hit up the other sources you all provided if I can not source things locally. I am pretty big on spending cash locally when I can! That's why I hope to find some tools and an anvil at an antique or estate sale here around my area of possible. It does appear that I will have to find a regulator online. Does this Wayne Coe guy have the whole deal with a psi gauge as well? My forge is pretty tiny. I think a 100# propane tank will serve me well. I am planning to go to half price books this week to see if any of the recommended books are available there. I am going to get some more safety gear tomorrow. As far as the coating go for my ceramic insulator, is there one coat that I want to add before the other?

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Welcome aboard! Can't help with the quantities of Satanite and ITC-100 because it depends on how much you want to thin it down. You can use either at any stage from a stiff paste to a runny cream consistency and this greatly affects coverage. That said, get at least three to five pounds of Satanite, you'll need it for later repairs and some of the other fun things you can do with it, and it never goes bad. ITC-100 works best when thinned to a light cream consistency, but 1/4 pint doesn't sound like enough to me. Then again I'm a coal burner and don't use the stuff much...

 

On to other equipment and safety gear: The following is my opinion only, but it's based on 18 years of experience.

 

I don't recommend tinted safety glasses. You need to be able to see the true color of your steel at all times. The solution to the IR problem is not to stare into the forge for very long, and squint when you do.

 

Heavy welding gloves are good to have for certain tasks, but are way too clumsy for actual forging. I use the lightest TIG gloves I can find for my tong hand, and only wear a glove on my hammer hand when doing a lot of heavy forge welding. Same with the apron. Only when doing a lot of welding, and that is only because it makes you shirt last longer. Not because you'll get burn holes in it (you won't), but because the molten borax flux splatters will bond to the cotton and dissolve holes in it when washed. Speaking of cotton, wear only natural fibers when working at the forge. Cotton/linen/wool etc. will smolder if burned, synthetics like fleece and nylon will melt to your skin.

 

You can buy heavy Kevlar gloves from Blacksmith's Depot that will let you hold red hot steel for a few seconds, but they only work when totally dry. I have some for certain occasions, but I don't really need them. Note that any glove will give you steam burns if it's wet.

 

Hammers:

 

I have several, and it doesn't much matter what shape you use as long as the face is fairly flat in the center and gently radiused on the edges. This lessens the big divots from inaccurate forging, which we all do from time to time. Bigger is not necessarily better! I do most of my work with an 800 gram (1.76 pound) hammer and a 40 ounce (2.5 pound) hammer. Bigger hammers wear you out faster, resulting in poor control and often in injury of some sort. Start small and work up.

 

The most important thing is make sure the hammer fits your hand properly and that you hold it properly. Wooden handles are best, because they absorb shock and vibration and can be shaped to fit you. Most handles are too fat for my taste. I like to slim them down into an elongated octagon cross-section, much thinner just below the head than any factory handle. This lets me grip properly with little fatigue and allows me to know just by feel how the hammer is lined up with the work. The thinned part below the head allows some springiness, which allows you to give a snappy blow with no felt vibration.

 

The proper way to grip the hammer is between thumb and forefinger. The other three fingers are just there for guidance and for a little extra snap on light blows. Your grip should be loose enough that someone could yank it out of your hand on the upstroke. The noobie Vulcan death grip is the fastest way to get tendonitis known to smithing. It doesn't just happen to new guys, either. Working tired makes you grip harder, as does a glove. That's how I got tendonitis, I was tired, using too heavy a hammer, and gripping too hard trying to finish a big axe. One blow too many and boom! no forging for six months and I have to wear a strap on my elbow every time I forge from now on. Also, keep your elbow close to your body, don't let your arm get all-chicken-winged when forging. That will hurt you too.

 

Finally, find and join your local smithing guild. Franklin isn't far from Indianapolis, and a quick search shows that there is a meeting the fourth Saturday of each month at the fairgrounds in Indianapolis. GO! http://www.indianablacksmithing.org/satellite.html#Marion You learn more in person than you possibly can on your own. If you can afford it, take a class. A one-week class will teach you more than two years of trying to teach yourself. There are two places in the greater Indianapolis area that teach classes, Conner Prairie and the Indianapolis Art Center http://indplsartcenter.org/artclasses/. There's another smithing school in Bloomington, http://browncountyforge.com/classes/.

 

Your local guild can hook you up with supplies, equipment, and guys who share your desire to forge steel. We can help with most things blade-related, but actual forging is hard to do online. You are lucky in that there seems to be a LOT of smithing activity not far from you. Then again, we are everywhere, we just tend to fly under the radar.

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Thanks for taking the time to write all that information. After a month or two on my own, I do plan to join the local group. I do believe that I will like forging once I start, but who knows right? I will take all this info into account. The knowledge base here will help me avoid mistakes. I hope to eventually meet some local guys and learn a thing or two. If any guys from Indiana are members of the big smith group (can't remember the name) let me know how you enjoy the group functions.

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Youll need a pig tail to connect to the tank with and a hose of course. Thats all i have on my forge. I think i missed the part where you said what type of forge you were building aspirated/blown. If youre doing a blown burner you might need to add a needle valve to that for fine tuning of your heat.

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Hi Karl,

 

I'm over in Terre Haute. I used to get to Franklin all the time for business, but haven't been there in a couple of years now.

 

To clarify the tank connections:

 

You'll need a way to connect the regular to the tank. Mine is rigidly plumed to the tank and is simply supported by the connector/fitting, but some prefer to have a longer hose between the regulator and the tank so that the tank can be further away but still have control of the regulator right at the forge.

 

Then you will need a hose from the regulator to your burner. I have a ball valve right at the burner for instant off gratification.

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It can be, and mine is more or less. However, when you get your regulator, it may not have the correct fitting to attache directly to the tank. Mine had a standard pipe thread, and I had to attach the correct propane tank fitting.

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The regulator I am looking at states that it is specifically for propane tanks. It is not the acme type connector, but the one the screws into the internal threads of the tank. Seems similar to the fitting on an acetylene regulator.

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i purchased one of the 10ft hoses with PSI gauge from here http://www.hightemptools.com/propaneregulators.htmland a POL fitting to connect to the propane tank... i called it a pig tail.. And all else you need is a ball valve and a bushing adapter to connect to whatever size inlet pipe to your burner.

 

0-30 PSI will probably be sufficient

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The one I'm looking at is exactly like that one except the handle is a t-handle instead of a knob. I was planning on getting one with a braided steel covered line incase something ever snagged it or anything

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I lived in Indiana for a couple of years. (Terre Haute, Brazil, Angola, Bloomington, Columbus, and Kokomo). One advantage you have is that it seems like there are antique stores EVERYWHERE (and those concrete porch geese statues--what's up with that?)

 

You might try looking up a welding supply store like Airgas to see if they have what you need. As for other resources, and possibly a way to find an anvil...you have a lot of Amish in that country. If you can talk to one of them, they might be able to help you. Or if you're really lucky, you might find an Amish smith who'd let you watch and learn. If all else fails, look up "blacksmith" or "welding" in the phone book (if you can find a phone book), and find a local shop. Visit, and ask questions (donuts are also a very good way to get in their good graces!)

 

I've also seen RR Tie Plates used for anvils. Not the greatest tool to start with, but remember even the most primitive smiths just used (use) a flat rock. The main thing is keep asking, EVERYWHERE. You'd be amazed at who knows what, or who knows someone who might know how to get what you need.

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A regulator with the tank connection already attached is fine. Just make sure it will let you get to 30psi or so. I think you said 40, which is ok, but I don't think you'll ever want to crank it up that high.

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I never thought to check around the Amish. I will have to do that. I have gone to a couple antique places and they are just really high price wise. I could buy new tools for the asking price of those places. Most of the tools there are really work and I haven't seen an anvil yet,but I will press on. I think this coming week I will go to a few around bean blossom, Morgan town, and Nashville. As far as the regulator goes, the 0-40 regulator was the same price as the 0-30 and I'd rather have the ability to go to 40 for the same price. I did figure that 30 was all I'd need though.

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